Michele Steele of Bloomberg Television reports that, according to some people in the company, Fox is interested in bidding on the Dodgers when they’re auctioned off in bankruptcy.
As Steele later tweeted, this would simply be about the costs of programming, not about actually, you know, wanting to buy a baseball team. She notes that the network could spend as much as $3 billion over 17 years for the TV rights to the Dodgers, as bid against other potential competitors for those rights. But if they bought the team they could spend somewhere between $800 million and $1 billion now for the team and guarantee themselves the TV rights. Not for free, of course — media right holders who also own the team have always paid themselves something for the privilege of broadcasting — but it’s a way lower number than the network would have to pay by itself, bidding against other networks.
For those of you who can’t remember life before Frank McCourt, Fox was the previous owner of the Dodgers. And one of the biggest reasons they sold the team in 2004 is that they are a broadcasting company, not a sports management company, so they lost money on the team. Which they only really had for the broadcast rights anyway. Sound familiar?
Yes, the world of team-owned media outlets (or media-owned team content providers) has grown far more sophisticated in the past several years and, yes, it’s possible that Fox would take a totally different tack if they were to take over the Dodgers again. But really, should they even be given the chance? Their bailing on the team last time gave us Frank McCourt to begin with.
Lost in the nifty base running by Dustin Pedroia that won Sunday’s game against the Rays, the Red Sox set a new major league record by striking out 11 batters in a row, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out the final six Rays he faced and reliever Heath Hembree struck out five Rays in a row after that. Tom Seaver had the previous consecutive strikeout streak of 10, set on April 22, 1970 against the Padres.
The Red Sox also set a team record with 23 strikeouts in total: 13 by Rodriguez, five by Hembree, one by Matt Barnes, and four by Joe Kelly. Per Abraham, that’s the most strikeouts in a 10-inning game since at least 1913 and the most in a game of any length since 2004.
For Rodriguez, Sunday marked the first double-digit strikeout game of his career. He has pitched quite well since returning to the rotation at the start of the second half. Over 13 starts, the lefty has a 3.10 ERA with a 70/23 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.
Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.
The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.
Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.
It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.